Sunday, December 14, 2014

I'm just going to walk around very slowly...

Friday, our kids were out of school for the day and Adrain took the day off so we headed to Port Gamble, Washington, which happens to be one of my very favorite cute spots on this whole earth.  Not a ton to "do" there but sometimes that's a really good idea- Go someplace there isn't a whole lot to "do."  The general store there, is a darling old building full of goodness and huge jars of candy.  It was fully decked out for Christmas with big glittering trees as you first walk through the front doors.  Ava was walking in front of me and in a sweetly appreciative, breathless voice whispered, "Oh I am just going to walk around very slowly."

The second those words were out of her mouth, I felt like they were just for me.  A perfectly worded reminder to slow down... walk slowly... savor the sights, the moments and the memories.  And I did.  It was so needed.  (I'll share those pictures in just a moment)
Which brings me to this quote- "You always have time for the things you put first." I put this on Instagram last night and said that "I have been really reflecting on this quote all week.  This busy season has a way of squeezing plans and people "out" because there simply isn't time or room for everything and everyone.  I tend to be very sensitive to this when I am on the receiving end of cancelled plans and I am working at being gracious and understanding... along with being careful to try and make time for everyone that is my priority so that they know they are loved an appreciated and valued.  Our time is such a gift & we can love WELL even in the chaos.  Put people first... you'll never be sorry!"  

I love this quote.  It's a balance between the reality of often being inadvertently pushed out of others hectic schedules (being gracious when your feelings are hurt- especially when you feel like people who are one of your priorities aren't able to also make you one of their priorities) and making sure to make others feel special to you amidst the very chaotic schedules we're all keeping this month.  Isn't life always a lesson in loving others well?

The holiday season sure puts that one to the test.  I just wanted to encourage you and say... "Let's treat others as we want to be treated no matter what!" Amen? 
 Speaking of treating others... we made a sweet little on the fly birthday party for a family member and it was so fun.  Just simple touches and store-bought cupcakes.  It doesn't have to be crazy or over the top to make people feel loved.  Just slowing down to be there with them is the main thing. 

I was sitting on the sofa and Ava was standing in front of the tree holding her blanket like this.  It was so picture perfect I made her freeze until I could snap the moment. 

 Alright now here are a few of our Port Gamble day out pictures. (And yes Ava is standing on her tip toes.  Everyone wants to be the tallest.)

 I love when you have to get on a ferry to leave town.  It makes it feel like you're really getting away.  And it's so relaxing.

 I love this little house... it was a sea captain's home and instead of facing the street, it faces the harbor.  That was so he could see the home fires burning in greeting as he sailed into port.  I absolutely love that story.
 Ava always has to get a charm for her bracelet here.
 Adrain took this photo of me taking a photo.  Ha!

 Such tender moments in the little cemetery.  It holds such stories... too many infants... and young men who were mill workers, not even aged 30 yet. Sad to think of the accidents that probably took lives back then that we wouldn't think twice about now.  It feels like a holy place.

 {If I had put together a Christmas card... this would have been a perfect image.  Love that they are actually both smiling. whoohoo!}

 I love that so many homes have little history signs talking about the people who first lived there.  Makes me sad I can't go back in time and get to know them all.
 Thankful for... jingle-belling with my kiddos and hubby...My very first date at a place that makes latte art... cute polka dotted plates at Marshalls... A fun ferry ride... being in a favorite place with my favorite guy... a daughter that makes me laugh with her ballet poses... all gifts wrapped and DONE... a sparkly store that reminded me to walk slowly and savor... and a gravesite that reminded me the only thing we can really take with us is the way we made people feel when we were with them.   

So here I go into this week- gonna do my best to make those loved ones feel LOVED. Want to join me in that venture?!  Make room in your chaos for those you love- once time goes by, you can't get it back!

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Home Tour 2014
I am linking up with Jen Rizzo's 2014 Holiday House walk today and want to welcome anyone who has wandered over here from that party! So far, I have pinned a ton of good ideas for future use from all the drool-worthy homes... I love seeing what everyone has come up with this time of year!
I'll try to keep my words short today so you can get busy looking but I need to talk for a minute about my holiday heart. Earlier this week, I posted a photo and question asking if anyone could relate to my minimalist longing during the holiday season, on Instagram.  It received quite a response and I wanted to delve a bit deeper into the subject because it seemed to resonate with so many of you.  As I decorated this year, I found myself sort of un-decorating.  In years past I have more or less over-decorated, but by about mid-December I find myself dying for less crowd-fighting, less spending, less schedule cramming, less indulging, less holiday decor... just less.  With this in mind, I found myself placing something out, then snatching it back because I didn't want to find myself stuck in the same patterns from years before. I found myself pulling things off walls and then breathing in deeply at the bare spaces.  I found myself fully decorating a wee little tree in my bedroom, only to rip all ornaments off an hour later and say, "better."  I realized that it didn't "all have to be put out."

You see, this time of year, the stores are overwhelming, the streets are jammed, the lines are long, the music blares the same tunes everywhere you go, the lights flash and glitter, and the receipts pile up next to your blood pressure.  I want to walk in from all that... and find peace. And more than finding peace... I long to offer it.  Our little home has become a haven of rest and comfort over the past year for many hurting souls and loved ones... and when the weights crush, I desire to be calm enough in my own heart that I can throw open the doors, reach out my arms and obediently pull those people in.  I was made to do that, and there are a few that teasingly call me "Mama hen."  (I love that just a little bit... and I do like to gather all my "chicks" close.)

In the spirit of creating peace, I put out the special and meaningful, scattering reminders of Jesus's birth in every space... and then I dropped a load of Christmas decor that I've been "hanging onto" for years, at the Goodwill so someone else can be blessed by my excess.  Afterward, I breathed in deeply, and there was room in my lungs.  In the decor overall, I could have gone much simpler than I did, but I had a small girl helping me... and I realized that I wasn't only decorating for myself- I am the keeper of their traditions and memories, so I forged on and found my groove in the balance of what felt decorated... yet peaceful.   In every space and nook of the house, is the ever-present reminder of Who and What we celebrate this year... the Prince of Peace.

My hope is that in this season of excess you can stop here for a moment, find inspiration for your home, and perhaps bask in a moment of peaceful quiet. If you want to get to know our house story better -how we transformed a little 1500 sq foot builder grade spec house into something that reflected who WE were, you can check that out over here.

 Thank you for coming... I hope you are blessed here. 


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Glitter crown ornaments from Family Life Today
White nutcracker- painted by me, last year. (primed then painted using paints I had on hand, nothing special)
Pottery Barn inspired advent bucket calendar- DIY here, made by me.
Fall on your knees sign- From House of Belonging
O Come let us Adore Him sign- From Between You and Me
Tiny trees- Found at Michaels, several years ago.
Vintage Ornament wrapped canvas- my shop (FYI I close for the season on December 12th)
Various art prints- my shop
Bleached pine cones and dipped wood ornaments (Michaels) (on the draped garland) were in this post.
Nativity by Willow Tree (Yes, I painted them a few years ago.  I have never regretted that choice as the original paints felt a bit too country or something in my home... I love the creamy finish.) 
Hot cocoa bar canisters- grocery store (Fred Meyer)
Wrapping Paper- here and there + calligraphy pens for extra fun.  :)
Calendar on Fridge- Paper Source

Sources I always get asked; 
Bedding in Master bedroom- Ballard Design/ Bedrom wall paint Stormy Skies- Benjamin Moore/ yellow lampshades- Target
Hall shoe cubby- Ikea.  Other house paint Rice Grain- Sherwin Williams/ blue glass lamp from Lowes/ gray sectional sofa- Ashely furniture. 
Coffee Mug holder- World Market
Schoolhouse lights- Design Lighting
Barn lights over table- Lowes